When I first decided to start a lucky envelope business I didn’t know anything about design software, printing or stationary. Since there were no websites documenting how to foil print envelopes at home, I did dozens of google searches, spent hours watching YouTube videos and spent months corresponding with Frank Miller from colorfoils.com to figure out how to do it. There were so many trials to overcome, printing over the seems without seeing an indent in the design, finding the tools and materials to use, I gave up so many times. I bought the foil from Frank Miller, the foil printing expert, and he always had something to try to resolve every issue that came up, he helped me get my business started and is just awesome.
Let’s get started. You need the following to foil print envelopes at home:
- Design software like Adobe Illustrator
- Laser printer
- Foil from colorfoils.com (start with the TRF Sampler)
- Carrier board
- Aluminum foil
The process starts with printing your design in black on the envelope with a laser printer. I used Adobe Illustrator to create the design.
Print several envelopes at a time so that you can foil print all the envelopes afterwards and save time. Depending if I am testing designs or fulfilling orders, I will print between 5 – 30 at a time. The envelope paper has to have a smooth surface. If there is too much lint, the laser design will not come out dark enough for the foil to stick. You might have to test out different paper before you find one that works.
Cut foil that is big enough to cover your design and fold over the top.
You will need to buy 2 pieces of carrier board. I was foil printing 4 3/4″ x 6 1/2″ envelopes. You might need more if your envelopes are larger.
Cut 1 piece of carrier board to go underneath the envelope when it goes through the laminator. It should not be more then a half inch bigger then the envelope with the flap opened because the foil could crease when it goes through the laminator. Cut a piece of foil that covers at least half of the carrier board, edge to edge, but does not fold over it.
Cut 1 piece of carrier board to fit snug inside the envelope. Start by cutting the carrier board 1/8″ less then the length and width of the envelope. Putting the carrier board inside the envelope ensures the design is not affected by the seems in the envelope.
Place the carrier board inside the envelope. Make sure the board doesn’t overhang to the flap.
Place the envelop, design side up with the entire flap over the foil. The glue on the flap will melt a little bit going through the laminator and the foil prevents it from sticking to the carrier board.
Heat the laminator to 355 – 360 degrees. I usually turn it on when I’m laser printing the design so it can heat up and be ready when I want to foil print. Grab a piece of foil and cover the design completely and then go over the top of the carrier board to the back.
This is how it should look like in the back.
Place the carrier board foil side first in the middle of the laminating area and slowly push it until the carrier board is picked up by the rollers inside.
The laminator will feed the carrier board through. The heat will stick the foil to the black design.
The carrier board will be pulled by the internal rollers to the back. Pick up the carrier board right after it comes out. It will be hot so use gloves if necessary.
Peel the foil slowly. Start from one of the corners closest to the flap and peel towards the edge with the foil folded over. Doing this while it is hot will get the best foil coverage on the laser printed design.
Right after the foil is peeled, peel off the envelope flap from the aluminum foil. The heat from the laminator will melt the glue to the foil. This might be sticky but try to peel slowly and carefully.
Remove the carrier board from the inside of the envelope.
And that’s it! You’re envelope is foil printed!
Finish foil printing the rest of your laser printed envelopes. After your second envelope, you’ll get into a roll and the printing will be quick. I’ve done 30 at one time.
This process takes some time to learn so be patient and do lots of test runs. Good luck and share your experience.
Happy foil printing,